Murder, Magic, Muppets and a New Cinema in Toronto's Little China!
Update: The date for the Jim Henson Screening is actually May 16th, not the 15th as previously reported.
Mark your calendars Toronto ScreenAnarchy cinephiles! On May 14th, The Toronto Underground Cinema, formerly known as both the Golden Harvest and the Golden Classics (where it was briefly run by Midnight Madness guru Colin Geddes), re-opens its doors in the bowels of an unassuming condo complex at 186 Spadina Avenue. Newly christened to reflect both its literal location as well as its intended programming attitude, which will skew towards "cult classics and seldom seen treasures" as well as "popular favorites", the cinema is headed up by a team that includes two ex-Bloor Cinema managers that were involved in the orchestration of last year's Kevin Smith Fest, Silver Stage Fringe Show and the Toronto edition of Edgar Wright's screening series The Wright Stuff.
For their grand opening The Toronto Underground Cinema will be screening the cult classic board-game adaptation CLUE* and, very appropriately, John Carpenter's hysterical homage to cinematic Chinese mysticism, Big Trouble in Little China. And it won't cost you a cent. This fabulously geeky double bill is 100% FREE on a first come, first seated basis. The doors open at 6pm, with the first film getting underway at 7pm and Kurt Russell hamming it up around 9pm.
But that is not all! On the following Sunday, May 16th, the cinema will also be screening two films in memory of the genius puppeteer Jim Henson. This double bill kicks off with Muppets Take Manhattan and will be following it with the Toronto repertory favorite Labyrinth. This event won't be free however; single film tickets will be $8 and its $14 for the double bill. Following these two special screenings, regular programming will begin May 28th.
I should also mention that the Underground joins a pretty healthy repertory cinema community in Toronto. Granted the city has seen a fair share of cinemas close in recent years, but many have re-opened and the demand for alternative venues in lieu of multiplexes seems to be on the rise. There's The Fox in the Beaches (they have got a pretty amazing 80s fest coming up in late May), The Revue on Roncesvalles (home to an awesome Silent Film series on Sundays), The Royal, The Regent, Mount Pleasant Cinema (the previous three doubling as post-production facilities for filmmakers like David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan), The Kingsway in Etobicoke and of course the stalwart, Millennium Falcon-like Bloor Cinema ("she may not look like much, but has got it where it counts").
For more information about The Toronto Underground Cinema, check them out on Facebook. (An official website for the theatre is forthcoming.)
*The CLUE screening should be particularly interesting due to the films exhibition gimmick of distributing prints with three distinct endings. Televised and on video, the endings are usually shown one after another, but during its theatrical run prints only contained one of the possible three endings.
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